of individual countries. There are some interesting observations about overall trends and emerging strengths, however, which can be made from this preliminary analysis.
2.1.1. Current (2011) national and regional advanced computing research contributions at top technical conferences
The committee’s preliminary assessment of conference papers at selected technical conferences in 2011 indicates that the United States is strongly represented in each of the four research areas identified by the committee as critical for meeting the computing performance challenges outlined in Chapter 1 (semiconductor devices and circuits, architecture, programming systems, and applications), contributing more than half of all papers across each research area. Of these areas, the United States has the strongest representation in architecture research with no other individual nation contributing as significantly. These data are consistent with the historical U.S. strengths in commercial microprocessors, including Intel, AMD, and IBM, as well as former commercial microprocessors from DEC, HP, and others (see Table F-5). The committee notes, however, that the UK-based ARM processor ecosystem now dominates by processor shipment volume, largely based on smartphones and embedded devices.
Limited or no representation at architecture research conferences may suggest that some nations’ universities and industry research institutions are not focused on mainstream computer architecture. For example, while Japan has activity and expertise in architecture research, notably the custom processors from Fujitsu that are in the K supercomputer, the data suggest its national research focus may lie in other areas such as advanced semiconductor and nanoscale devices and circuits (see Table F-4). As another example, Germany and the U.K., while poorly represented at architecture research conferences, have notable representation in advanced programming research (see Table F-6).
Several interesting observations can also be made about regional representation at these conferences. For example, while the United States maintains a significant lead over Europe and Asia in paper contributions at semiconductor and nanoscale devices conferences, its contributions in semiconductor circuits research are comparable to Europe and Asia. In programming systems and applications, the United States maintains a lead followed by Europe and distantly by Asia. See Figures F-2 through F-6.
2.1.2 Time series assessment of national and regional advanced computing research contributions at top technical conferences
Longitudinal analysis of conference data from 1996–2011 also provides insight into trends in national (see Tables F-8 through F-11) and regional (see Figures F-7 through F-11) contributions to advanced research. During this time, for the two conference series (IEDM and NANO) in the semiconductor devices area, the U.S. lead has remained relatively stable with the largest gains made by Taiwan and Belgium (IMEC). For the ISSCC conference series in semiconductor circuits research, the United States shows a moderate decline, in tandem with an overall broadening in international representation. In this area, the largest leaps were made by Korea, Taiwan, and the Netherlands. For the four conference series (ASPLOS, HPCA, ISCA, and MICRO) in architecture research, the United States has maintained a significant lead, with no major advances by any other nation or region.
For the five conference series (ECOOP, OOPSLA, PLDP, POPL, and PPoPP) in programming systems research, the U.S. lead has been challenged somewhat by increases in Europe by small but steady gains by Israel, Switzerland, and the UK (as well as by China, India, and Korea to a lesser degree). For the seven conference series (Eurographics, OSDI, SC, SIGGRAPH, SOSP, VLDB, and WWW) in applications research, U.S. representation has retained a stable lead over the 15-year period with no significant representation by other nations. While only representing a small percentage of papers in the applications research areas, China moved from no representation in 1996 to ~4 percent of conference papers in 2011.
Strong R&D investments by U.S. universities and industry laboratories over the last 15 years have yielded numerous innovations and have helped to sustain the United State’s position as a lead contributor of conference papers across the four specific technology areas identified by the committee. Despite this fact, the U.S. position is now being challenged by increasing technical and manufacturing capabilities in Europe and, in particular, Asia. For example, while showing relatively few contributions to conference papers, China continues to make significant contributions to U.S.–China trade revenues (discussed in Section 2.4) and demonstrates increasing competitiveness in the global semiconductor value chain (discussed in Section 2.5). The committee expects that these trends will likely continue as nations make greater investments in domestic university and industry research, as well as through multinational, and increasingly global,